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  • Watching our seas change

    Sea Watch Foundation

    By Lorna Bointon, Sea Watch Foundation Regional Coordinator 

    The sea is ever-changing. Image by R. Bointon

    After a long absence, we have embraced freedom and revelled again in shared experiences. Throughout the summer, there have been natural spectacles to witness along our shorelines. From watching oystercatchers poking their long beaks among seaweed covered rocks, to sea gooseberries washed in by the tide, glistening on the wet sand just out of reach of the frothy receding waves. Some sea watchers have been lucky to glimpse their first dorsal fin breaking the water or to watch the mesmerising rolling motion of foraging porpoises as gannets dive greedily in a feeding frenzy and gulls cry noisily overhead.  Some of us have strolled along sea-sprayed cliffs and rocky shores as pairs of red-legged choughs free-fall in a courtship dance above our heads.  Others may have had the pleasure of spotting seals lazily resting in the calm sea amid bobbing guillemots and cormorants as kittiwakes scream overhead. Among all this, the…

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  • Nature and climate – twin crises with twin solutions

    Wildlife Trusts

    Partner organisation of the Watches

    By Kathryn Brown, Director of Climate Action, The Wildlife Trusts

    A thriving natural environment and a stable climate support all life on earth, including people. But we are amid twinned crises that are being caused by people; the climate is changing rapidly, and nature is in sharp decline. The solutions to addressing both are also wrapped up together. The natural environment is a critical store for carbon and makes us more resilient to extreme weather; and we need to take action on climate to protect nature from its impacts. For too long we’ve considered the natural world and the climate as separate from each other, when in reality they are a dynamic duo, which in good health and working together will offer people and planet a healthy and sustainable future.

    Beaver (c) David Parkyn Cornwall Wildlife Trust

    Bringing back beavers - a win for climate and nature

    Take beavers as an example, nature’s eco-engineers whose hard work creates wildlife rich wetlands, which in turn, support other species: from otters to water voles and…

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  • How restoring saltmarsh can help us fight climate change

    WWT

    Partner organisation of the Watches

    “Code Red for humanity.” The IPCC report published earlier this year was clear on what the prognosis is if we don’t confirm deep cuts to emissions by 2030. Yet the floods, droughts, storms and wildfires don’t just affect humans – they are also devastating for the wildlife that we share the world with. Birds blown off course, animals flooded out of their homes during breeding season, warming seas playing havoc with our marine life, invertebrates reduced to enclaves in the last scraps of wildness in the land. Nature lovers everywhere are noticing the changes, and the UK is no exception.

    We can’t look away from how serious this problem is. But focusing on the negatives will only get us so far. It’s now time for organisations to take a two-pronged approach to taking action and providing solutions.

    For there are solutions out there, with some just now emerging. And one solution doesn’t lie in new, expensive, carbon-capturing technology, but in the ground beneath our feet.

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  • The importance of grasslands

    Plantlife

    By Ian Dunn, CEO, Plantlife

    There is emerging scientific research that indicates that the soils underneath species-rich grasslands may be more important even than those under forests in offsetting our greenhouse gas emissions and that is why, ahead of the crunch COP climate talks taking place in Glasgow in just a few days, we are shining a bright light on the plight and potential of grasslands as never before.

    Desire path through a meadow (c) Matt Pitts Plantlife

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  • Wildlife photography: get your best shot!

    Earthwatch Europe

    Partner organisation of the Watches

    Wildlife photography is a fantastic way to grow your connection to nature and support your wellbeing. It’s a great excuse to spend time outside, and the focus you need to find the perfect shot can help you feel connected to the world around you.

    We know that getting started with photography can be a bit overwhelming, so here are some tips from the Earthwatch Europe Photographers in Residence, Helen, Nathan and Jane, for their top tips for nature photography.

    Credit Helen Burton

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  • How to spot fascinating fungi this autumn

    National Trust

    Partner organisation of the Watches

    At this time of year, many people spend their autumn walks looking up to marvel at the rich colours of our trees. But take a closer look at what’s growing under your feet, and you’ll be treated to an equally dazzling spectrum. From bright red waxcaps to small, purple corals, fungi in woods and grasslands come to life at this time of year, especially after periods of heavy rainfall. Grassland fungi are full of surprises – with names like the powdercap strangler, splendid waxcap or deceptive earthtongue.

    Scarlet waxcap is a typical grassland species. (c) National Trust/Victoria Holland

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  • Hedging our bets for wildlife

    National Trust

    Partner organisation of the Watches

    By the National Trust

    Planting new hedgerows is a fantastic way of creating new habitats for wildlife.

    Hawthorn berries Credit NT Images Stephen Robson

    Here, our Head of Nature Conservation, Ben McCarthy, considers the fate of our hedgerows and the benefits they bring to the landscape.

    “During the latter half of the last century many of our hedgerows were grubbed out in a bid to increase field size and improve agricultural productivity. While…

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  • Flying under the radar

    WWT

    Partner organisation of the Watches

    Dumpy, drab, stocky… these are just some of the words used to describe the unassuming red knot. Yet this bird has a surprisingly impressive story that belies its appearance.

    A knot means what?

    Knot in breeding plumage WWT

    Knots are sometimes known by their scientific name Calidris canutus, sometimes known as the red knot due to their rosy breeding plumage. Their scientific name is derived from the Danish king who…

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  • Nocturnal wildlife to spot

    Earthwatch Europe

    Partner organisation of the Watches

    By Amber Jepson, Bangor University

    For the UK’s wildlife, autumn is a time to reap the bounties of summer and prepare for grim winter weather. As the days grow shorter, nocturnal wildlife begins to enjoy longer and darker nights.

    We will explore the phenomenon that is nocturnal wildlife, so you know what to spot this autumn.

    Find out the best way to use your space to help wildlife with Naturehood, where you can find free guides, tips, ideas and resources to help you create your own wildlife haven!

    Bats

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  • How to create winter shelters for wildlife in your garden

    Earthwatch Europe

    Partner organisation of the Watches

    By Jess Creber, Animal Biology & Conservation student (Oxford Brookes University) and Earthwatch Europe volunteer

    From hedgehogs in their leaf piles to dormice curling up for the winter, many of us look for shelter from the wind and rain this time of year. Within your Naturespace there are many ways to create homes for wildlife this winter. We will share how you can make shelters for wildlife.

    Hedgehog houses

    Hedgehogs have been in decline over the last few decades. This is due to habitat fragmentation. There are lots of ways to help, like cutting holes in your garden fence or leaving rocks…

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